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Odysseus’s Biggest Obstacle

By vanessafaye Apr 14, 2014 654 Words
Throughout Homer’s The Odyssey, Odysseus is trying his best to get home to his wife Penelope and his son Telemachus. Many things keep Odysseus away from Ithaca. Odysseus even has flaws that postpone his own homecoming. Odysseus has the best intentions throughout The Odyssey. He wants to return home to his family and once again rule over his kingdom at Ithaca, but the gods and goddesses play a large role. Odysseus angers Poseidon, the god of the sea, when he tortures the Cyclops Polyphemus, who is Poseidon’s son. Odysseus’s fatal flaw is hubris or excessive pride. It is this excessive pride that causes Odysseus to belittle the Cyclops after he has blinded him. Odysseus had no need to yell at the blinded Cyclops; he had already escaped from the Cyclops’s harm. Odysseus just felt so proud of his victory over the Cyclops, that he wanted the Cyclops to know who was responsible for his injury. This caused Odysseus lots of trouble all throughout the rest of his journey. Poseidon’s anger toward Odysseus greatly sets back his journey because Poseidon controlled all the seas that Odysseus sailed upon.

Odysseus is so eager to get home to his kingdom and his family, but he makes mistakes along the way. When Odysseus has his love affair with Circe, he stays much longer than what is required of him. Circe only requires that he sleep with her in order to get his men back, but he stays and rests. What he believes has been a few nights is really much longer. This puts a great set back in his journey. Odysseus does care a lot for his wife, Penelope, but he should have been thinking about her more while he was living in the lap of luxury with Circe. When he was relaxing, his wife was still back at Ithaca patiently awaiting his return. Odysseus should not have been so prideful and proud of the victory of turning his men back to humans from animals. Thinking he deserved to rest because of this great accomplishment, held off his journey as much as another monster would have.

Odysseus’s pride gets in his way again when he feels that he should be able to kill all his wife’s suitors. Although they are not gentlemen, they do not all deserve to die. Odysseus just wants to prove his love for Penelope, but a mass slaughter is a bit extreme even for a grand warrior. This large massacre is just another example of how superior Odysseus sees himself. This angers the suitors’ parents. Luckily it does not cause too much trouble for Odysseus because Athena creates peace among them. However, this could have led to Odysseus’s death if not dealt with properly. He should be proud that he is an outstanding warrior, but not quite so prideful that he thinks he has the right to kill everyone.

In The Odyssey, Odysseus has only the best intentions, but sometimes characters can get in the way of their own success. Odysseus’s boastful pride caused him many problems with Poseidon, which made his journey much rockier than it should have been. Odysseus’s selfishness also delayed his journey back to Ithaca. His hubris still continued to be a problem even after he had returned back to his kingdom. Even though Odysseus was cunning, tough, and courageous, he was not without flaws. These flaws are what help teach Odysseus to respect the gods. Odysseus is the cause of many of his own troubles, but that is what makes the story so great. Heroes can have flaws; they do not have to be perfect. It is Odysseus’s imperfections that teach him the most. So when Odysseus is holding himself back, he is helping himself at the same time. This story really shows the reader that life is about the journey and what one learns along the way.

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